By Kemo Cham
A sudden eruption of gunfire in the early hours of Saturday morning has plunged the Guinean capital Conakry into a state of confusion.
Reports indicate that the heavy exchange of shooting erupted around the Central Prison of Coronthie in the district of Kaloum, which holds the former Guinean junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara and many other famous inmates.
According to sources, Dadis, as the former junta leader is fondly called, has gone missing alongside two other close allies of his.
The three men are said to be the main players in the ongoing trial for their involvement in the massacre of Guinean civilians in 2009.
Kaloum is the administrative center of the Guinean capital and it is home to very many important government institutions, notably the Presidential palace. The area is also a major business center.
According to some other sources, the suspected escape happened a bit earlier, and that the manhunt mounted by security forces resulted in the shooting heard by residents.
There is heavy presence of armed security men in and around the district, with the November 8 Bridge, which strategically links Kaloum to the rest of Conakry, completely cordoned off.
The streets of Kaloum are also reported to be deserted, as inhabitants of the district remain indoors amid the uncertainty.
Dadis took power on December 24, 2008, following the sudden death of longer time leader President Lansana Conte. The former Captain ruled for a year, before he was shot in the head in an apparent assassination attempt.
Dadis returned home from exile in Burkina Faso in December 2021, and gave himself up for trial “to clear” his name.
He is believed to have escaped alongside two other big names in the trial – Colonel Claude Pivi, his former powerful Minister of Presidential Security, and Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara, who was the head of the Special Services in charge of the fight against drugs.
Dadis and 10 other former military and government officials who served in his NCDD junta are accused of the killing of 156 people and the rape of at least 109 women in a Conakry Stadium on November 28, 2009. Their charges range from murder to sexual violence, kidnappings, arson and looting.
The trial has been a sensational event across Guinea.